Spring is the best season to visit Japan because of the cherry blossom. And also between late April and the beginning of May is one of the busiest period in the year. It is called “Golden Week” in Japan. April 29, May 3, 4, and 5 are National holidays. If you travel in this period, train may be booked out quickly. Please see the details in the link below:
JR Group operate lots of seasonal trains during all spring season. Especially JR Group add lots of the extra trains in Golden Week. In this post, I show you many seasonal trains that will run in major tourist spots until the end of June.
*Summer seasonal train schedule (July to September) will come up in late May. But you will find all schedules until February, 2018 for trains in Kyushu.
JR Hokkaido (Hokkaido area)
Kushiro Shitsugen Norokko train
This train is operated by “Torokko” (open air type passenger’s car). This is a cruising train that goes through Kushiro marsh. Please refer the detail about this train at Kushiro Shitsugen Norokko train.
Train runs round trip (#1, #2) only on those above dates.
Train runs 2 round trips on these dates.
Furano Lavender Express / Furano Koyo Express
Furano is very popular spot in Hokkaido during summer season. Only this train takes you to Furano from Sapporo directly. In this season, this train will be operated by specialized fleet, “Crystal Express” that has double deck and compartment. Please refer the detail about this train at Furano Lavender Express / Koyo Express.
Sapporo 9:07 – Furano 11:07
Furano 16:51 – Sapporo 18:46
*Train stops at Iwamizawa, Takikawa and Ashibetsu.
Furano Biei Norokko train
This train is operated by “Torokko” (open air type passenger’s car). This is a cruising train that goes on Furano line. Please refer the detail about this train at Furano Biei Norokko train.
*Summer schedule (July to October) will be released in late May.
*Train makes stops at Biei, Bibaushi, Kami-Furano, Lavender-Batake and Naka-Furano.
JR East (Tohoku and Kanto area)
This newest Shinkansen train is called “The World Fastest Art Gallery”. There are many artwork displayed in the train. This train is operated as train name, “Toki”.
Toki 456 will operated by earlier schedule (16:42 – 17:36) after May 13
All trains stops at all stations between Echigo-yuzawa and Niigata.
You can find more information about this train at the post, The world fastest art gallery, Genbi Shinkansen.
This is the first ever Shinkansen train that has foot Onsen bath in the car.
|Station||Toreiyu Tsubasa #1||Station||Toreiyu Tsubasa #2|
You can find more information about this train at the post, Toreiyu Tsubasa. First ever Shinkansen train that has foot bath.
Odawara 11:40 – 14:08 Izukyu-Shimoda
Izukyu-Shimoda 15:20 (15:35) – 17:12 (18:02) Odawara
*The train will run 15:35 – 18:02 on Mar 4.
You can find more information about this train at the post, Cruising train Izu Creile offers you very comfortable train experience to Izu peninsula from Odawara.
Shu*Kura runs as promoting Niigata local product, especially Japanese Sake (pure rice wine). It is like Sake tasting train. You can enjoy many kinds of Sake on board.
This train runs on several routes in Niigata prefecture. There are three routes in this spring.
You can find more information about this train at the post, Enjoy premium Japanese Sake on board. Cruising train Koshino Shu*Kura.
This train runs between Nagano and Tokamachi on Iiyama line. It has old style Japanese housing interior.
You can transfer to the following train, Koshino Shu*Kura at Tokamachi.
Narita Express #8 and #41
Narita Express runs Narita airport and downtown Tokyo or Yokohama, Ofuna. One round trip of Narita Express extend to run to Kawaguchiko via Shinjuku. You can get Lake Kawaguchi area from/to Narita airport directly by this train. But if you use this train by Japan Rail Pass or JR East Pass, the basic fare and limited express train seat fee between Otsuki and Kawaguchiko is not covered. Tokyo Wide Pass covers base fare fully but limited express train seat fee between Otsuki and Kawaguchiko is required. The seat fee is 400 yen for Ordinary class and 1,000 yen for Green class.
All Saturday, Sunday and Holidays
*Narita Express makes a stop at Shibuya, Tachikawa, Hachioji, Otsuki, Tsuru-Bunkadaigakumae, Fujisan and Fujikyu-Highland.
Rapid Holiday Kaisoku Fujisan
This train connects Shinjuku and Kawaguchiko (Lake Kawaguchi) directly. Transfer at Otsuki station is not required. But if you use this train by Japan Rail Pass or JR East Pass, the basic fare between Otsuki and Kawaguchiko is not covered.
All Saturday, Sunday and Holidays
*Rapid Holiday Kaisoku Fujisan makes a stop at Mitaka, Tachikawa, Hachioji, Takao, Sagamiko, Uenohara, Shiotsu, Otsuki, Tsurushi, Tsuru-Bunkadaigakumae, Mitsutoge, Fujisan and Fujikyu-Highland.
Rapid Resort Shirakami
This train connects Akita with Aomori through Gono line that has one of the greatest scenery. This train is operated by the specialized train or the newest Hybrid train. This train has only reserved seat.
Operation dates and timetable
This train makes a stop at Oiwaki, Hachirogata, Moritake, Higashi-Noshiro, Noshiro, Akita-Shirakami, Iwadate, Juniko, WeSpa-Tsubakiyama, Fukaura, Senjojiki, Ajigasawa, Mutsu-Morita, Kizukuri, Goshogawara, Mutsu-Tsuruta, Itayanagi, Kawabe, Hirosaki and Shin-Aomori. If you need more information about this train, please refer Rapid Resort Shirakami.
Rapid Resort Minori
This train connects Sendai with Shinjo via Naruko Onsen. It is operated by specialized train. You can see some images at JR East Sendai branch site.
Sendai 09:13 – 11:00 Naruko Onsen 11:23 – Shinjo 12:26
Shinjo 15:01 – 15:58 Naruko Onsen 16:00 – Sendai 17:39
This train makes a stop at Matsuhima, Kogota, Furukawa, Iwadeyama, Yubikan, Kawatabi-Onsen, Naruko-Gotenyu, Naruko-Onsen, Nakayamadaira-Onsen, Akakura-Onsen, Mogami and Semi-Onsen.
Rapid Resort View Furusato
This train connects Nagano with Minami-Otari via Matsumoto, Shinano-Omachi and Hakuba. It is operated by Hybrid train. You can see some images at JR East Nagano branch site.
Nagano 09:04 – 10:29 Matsumoto 10:41 – 10:59 Hodaka 11:26 – 11:47 Shinano Omachi 11:51 – 12:23 Hakuba 12:29 – 12:47 Minami Otari
Minami Otari 15:16 – 15:31 Hakuba 15:37 – 16:13 Shinano Omachi 16:18 – 16:40 Hodaka 16:51 – 17:15 Matsumoto 17:23 – 18:28 Nagano
Rapid Kirakira Uetsu
This train connects Niigata and Sakata or Ugo-Honjo on Uetsu line. You can enjoy local foods and beautiful coast scenery of Sea of Japan. It is operated by specialized train “Kirakira Uetsu”. You can see some images at JR East Niigata branch site.
Niigata 10:13 – 12:51 Sakata
Sakata 16:11 – Niigata 18:32
The following schedule is applied to the train that runs on the *mark dates. This train runs as Kirakira Uetsu Shirakami Relay between Niigata and Akita.
Niigata 09:33 – 13:46 Akita
Akita 14:06 – Niigata 18:32
Rapid SL Banestsu Monogatari
It is operated by steam locomotive and old style passenger’s cars between Niigata and Aizu-Wakamatsu.
Niigata 09:30 – Aizu-Wakamatsu 13:35
Aizu Wakamatsu 15:25 – Niigata 19:06
This train makes a stop at Niitsu, Gosen, Sakihana, Mikawa, Tsugawa, Hideya, Nozawa, Yamato, Kitakata and Shiokawa.
*Diesel locomotive train depart later and arrive earlier.
If you need more info about this train, please see the post, Popular Steam Locomotive train, SL Banetsu Monogatari.
It is the newest SL train. It connects Hanamaki and Kamaishi. The interior is amazing. It display the world of Kenji Miyazawa who is a poet and author of children’s literature.
Overnight Rapid Moonlight Shinshu 81
This is very popular and hard to get the seat. This train does not have any non reserved seat. This train is operated by old type Limited Express cars. But there is no berth or compartment.
Shinjuku 23:54 – Hakuba 05:40
*There is no train to Shinjuku from Hakuba
This train makes a stop at Tachikawa, Hachioji, Otsuki, Shioyama, Kofu, Kobuchizawa, Chino, Kamisuwa, Shimosuwa, Okaya, Tatsuno, Shiojiri, Matsumoto, Toyoshina, Hodaka, Shinano-Omachi and Kamishiro.
JR Central (Chubu, Tokai and Hokuriku)
Overnight Rapid Moonlight Nagara
This is very popular and hard to get the seat. This train does not have any non reserved seat. Reservation is required to take this train. It is operated by old type Limited Express cars. But there is no berth or compartment.
To Ogaki – March 17-25
To Tokyo – March 18-26
If you are looking for more information about Moonlight Nagara, please see the post, Rapid train Moonlight Nagara.
JR West (Kansai, Hokuriku and Chugoku)
This is new train that will start to run in this fall in Kanazawa. This train takes you to Wakura Onsen in Noto peninsula.
The train makes stops at Nanao and Hakui. All seats are reserved. You cannot take this train without booking.
Belles montagnes et mer
This is new train that will start to run in this fall in Takaoka. This train runs on both Himi line and Johana line.
Himi line (between Takaoka and Himi)
Johana line (between Takaoka and Johana)
Train #4 runs between Himi and Takaoka only. It does not go to Shin-Takaoka.
Train makes stops at Takaoka, Fushiki and Amaharashi.
Train makes stops at Shin-Takaoka, Tonami, Fukuno and Fukumitsu.
Sanyo Shinkansen 500 TYPE EVA
This is one of scheduled Kodama train that is operated by specialized “Neon Genesis Evangelion” wrapping fleet.
This train will not run from April to late May.
From Mar 1 to 3
From Mar 4 to Jun 30
This train stops at all stations between Shin-Osaka and Hakata on Sanyo Shinkansen line.
Rapid Setouchi Marine View
This train runs between Hiroshima and Mihara via Kure line. This train is operated by specialized train. Please check the images at the following links (JR West official site): Exterior | Reserved seat | Non reserved seat
Weekend and holidays from Mar 1 to Jun 30
*This train is expected to run after Jul 1 too.
Hiroshima 10:02 – 10:52 Kure 10:53 – Mihara 12:30
Mihara 14:26 – 16:11 Kure 16:12 – Hiroshima 17:04
This train makes a stop at Aki-Kawajiri, Yasuura, Akizu, Tadaumi, Hiro and Takehara too.
This train is operated by C57 type steam locomotive between Shin-Yamaguchi and Tsuwano. This train has only reserved seat. (Japanese site link)
Saturday, Sunday and all holidays from March 19 to June 11
*This train is expected to run after Jul 1 too.
Shin-Yamaguchi 10:50 – Tsuwano 12:59
Tsuwano 15:45 – Shin-Yamaguchi 17:30
This train makes a stop at Yuda-Onsen, Yamaguchi, Niho, Shinome, Choumonkyo, Jifuku, Nabekura and Tokusa.
JR Shikoku (Shiokoku)
Shiman Torokko train
This train is operated along Shimanto river by open air car. This open air car has just renovated by most popular train designer, Eiji Mitooka.
Uwajima 10:29 – Kubokawa 13:16
Kubokawa 14:14 – Uwajima 16:46
*All seats are reserved seats. Reservation required to take this train. Non JR pass travelers must pay 510 yen for reserved seat.
JR Kyushu (Kyushu)
Limited Express Yufuin-no-Mori
It is very popular train that connect Hakata and Yufuin. One round trip of this train goes to Beppu. Please see the post, Very popular train to Yufuin from Hakata and Oita. Limited Express Yufuin no Mori / Yufu to get the details.
Operation dates and timetable
This train runs everyday. But it is operated by ordinary express train fleets as “Limited Express Yufu” on the specific dates due to annual maintenance. In this case, train’s interior is quite different. It is okay but it’s very common fleet and you may be disappointed. If you do not want to have common fleets, please avoid to take this train on the day in “Remarks” below.
|#1||09:24||11:35||–||–||Operation as “Yufu” by ordinary fleets on Apr 17-21, Jul 11-13, Sep 25-29, Dec 19-21|
|#3||10:25||12:34||13:21||13:35||Operation as “Yufu” by ordinary fleets on Feb 28-Mar 1, Mar 7-9, May 8-Jul 7, Sep 12-14, Nov 27-Dec 1, In 2018, Feb 7-9|
|#5||14:35||16:44||–||–||Operation as “Yufu” by ordinary fleets on Apr 17-21, Jul 11-13, Sep 25-29, Dec 19-21|
|#2||–||–||12:09||14:16||Operation as “Yufu” by ordinary fleets on Apr 17-21, Jul 11-13, Sep 25-29, Dec 19-21|
|#4||14:39||14:55||15:50||18:07||Operation as “Yufu” by ordinary fleets on Feb 28-Mar 1, Mar 7-9, May 8-Jul 7, Sep 12-14, Nov 27-Dec 1, In 2018, Feb 7-9|
|#6||–||–||17:06||19:17||Operation as “Yufu” by ordinary fleets on Apr 17-21, Jul 11-13, Sep 25-29, Dec 19-21|
This train makes a stop at Shin-Suizenji, Suizenji, Higo-Otsu and Akamizu too.
Limited Express Aso Boy!
This train suppose to run between Mt. Aso and Kumamoto by the train that have the panoramic windows at the both end. But due to massive earthquake in last year, this segment is still closed. This train will run between Hakata and Mojiko.
This train has only reserved seat. Please see the post, Access to Mt. Aso from Kumamoto. Kids friendly train, Limited Express Aso Boy! to get the details about this train.
This train makes a stop at Kashii, Orio, Kurosaki and Moji too.
Limited Express Umisachi-Yamasachi
This train goes through Nichinan coastline. Please see the details at my post.
|Stations||to Nango||to Miyazaki|
|Nichinan (日南)||11:23||15:54||Aburatsu (油津)||11:26||15:50|
Rapid SL Hitoyoshi
This train is connects Kumamoto with Hitoyoshi by steam locomotive and specialized passenger’s cars.
A Ressha de Iko (A列車で行こう=Take the ‘A’ train)
This train connects Kumamoto with Misumi. Misumi is the gateway station for Amakusa. JR Kyushu add one more trip after March 16.
Only two round trips, #1,#2,#5 and #6 will run on the dates with *mark.